We who survive must carry you forward through time, bear your name’s weight against a forgetful gravity.

We have seen you dying, seen you dead; gasping like a fish upon a stranger bed, collapsed among a welter of furniture. We have pruned and pruned again the accumulation of years, cast away the houses and the art, the cities and the water, until nothing remains but life and voice, and then seen those cast away as well.

And still, for one more mile, one more day–

Blood-stained hands and tobaccoed beard. Avacado carpets and smoke-filled libraries. A familiar hill and a moment’s weakness. We have grown adept at mourning, worn the elbows of our blackest suits white with toasting the lamented dead. Smelt and conversation; a high school class grown smaller year by year.

A punchline somehow finished. We, like you, will die alone, and others bear our weight.